General Meeting Rome 2011

Minutes of the General Meeting in Rome, Italy

General Meeting of Members of the IAA
Thursday, July 7, 2011
57th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI)
Gregorian University, Loyola Hall, Rome, Italy.
Those present were the members of the IAA Board and ca. 50 Rencontre participants, most of whom were IAA members.

1. Opening.
At 14.40 hours the President Piotr Michalowski welcomed the members of the IAA as well as other colleagues in attendance. He informed the meeting that anyone may participate in the discussion, but only members can vote.
The invitation for this General Meeting together with the agenda and relevant documentation were sent to the members on April 2, 2011.
Since the Rencontre in Barcelona (2010) the following colleagues had passed away, listed in chronologial order: Maurice Sznycer (July 2010); Selma Al-Radi (October 2010); Jürgen Schmidt (December 2010); Rykle Borger (December 2010); Anson Rainey (February 2011); Donny George Youkhanna (March 2011); Paolo Fiorina (March 2011); Giovanni Pettinato (May 2011); Johannes Koch (June 2011); Elena Cassin (June 2011).

2. Report of the Secretary.
The Secretary by W.H. van Soldt submitted his report.
The number of members of the IAA had risen from 410 at the end of 2009 to 467 at the end of 2010, an increase of 57. However, this number is certainly too high. Several persons on our database have not paid for years and, in accordance with the rule set during the General Meeting in Barcelona (2010), members who have not paid their dues for more than two years are given the choice either to pay in arrears or to give up their membership. As will be shown during the next Rencontre, the membership number has to be corrected to ca. 400.
New membership numbers have been introduced that are based on the year that membership begins. The old rigid system of assigning numbers to members starting at one proved impractical.
During this Rencontre a special desk is available to apply for membership and/or to pay one’s dues. Membership identity cards were readied for distribution at the IAA desk. These cards are meant for new members only; the other members received a digital card by email. The membership cards, the digital cards, ballots and name boards were made by V. Klinkenberg.
C. Randau has left Leiden and his work on the websites will be continued by V. Klinkenberg. The latter is responsible for technical questions and the Secretary will make all the necessary corrections on the websites (both RAI and IAA).
There were no questions and the report was approved by acclamation.

3. Financial matters
a. Financial Report
The Financial report for the year 2010 was submitted by the Treasurer Th.J.H. Krispijn. It shows a positive balance of €4,758.28. The main revenues came from membership dues, which amounted to €7,688.83. The balance of the savings account was €9,500.
b. Recommendation by the controlling committee
The Treasurer read the confirmation of the controlling committee, consisting of D. Katz, N.J.C. Kouwenberg and M. Stol, that the report accurately reflects the current state of the IAA finances.
c. Vote of acceptance and discharge of Board and controlling committee
The Board approved the report and thanked the Treasurer. The controlling committee was also thanked and its members will be asked to perform the same job next year.
d. What to do with the accumulating funds of the IAA
This point on the agenda was shifted to 5, see below.

4. The Board
a. Composition of the Board
According to the by-laws the Board comprises a maximum number of 15 members divided over three categories: 4 members representing affiliated scholarly associations, 4 representing the organizing committees of RAI (the preceding, the current, and the succeeding two), and 7 officers and elected members.
At present, the Board consists of the following members:
– Three officers and four elected members: P. Michalowski (President), W.H. van Soldt (Secretary), J.C. Fincke, F. Abdallah, G. Frame, N. Marchetti and C. Wunsch (elected members).
– Four chairs of RAI organizing committees: J.-M. Durand (2009), J. Sanmartín (2010), A. Archi (2011) and Th.J.H. Krispijn (2012).
– Four members of affiliated scholarly associations: D. Charpin (SEPOA), J. Klein (ISAANES), H. Neumann (DOG), J. Taylor (BISI).
b. Resigning members and new candidates
Shifts in Membership. The Secretary presented a list of dates when the terms of office of the Board members will expire. In the category of officers and elected members N. Marchetti rotated off. On April 2 the Secretary sent an invitation to the members to present candidates before July 1, but no application was received. N. Marchetti suggested two candidates, of whom V. Matoïan responded positively.
Representatives of Organizing Committees. J.-M. Durand (2008) rotated off. The new representative is M. Tanret for the RAI in Ghent (2013).
Representatives of Scholarly Associations. Three members rotated off this year, J. Klein (ISAANES), D. Charpin (SEPOA) and H. Neumann (DOG). All three stood for re-election, there were no other candidates.
c. New and re-elected Board members
The General Meeting welcomed V. Matoïan by acclamation. She is a well-known archaeologist with much experience in the field. The meeting also welcomed M. Tanret as the representative of the RAI in Ghent. The three Board members of the third category were also re-elected by acclamation. The Board will actively search for other associations that could join the IAA.

5. Initiatives
This matter will be followed up by the Board.
b. Initiative W. de Gruyter
Publisher W. de Gruyter has offered a prize (€1000) and to publish selected dissertations (see the report of 2010). J.C. Fincke asked how much time after the completion of the dissertation an application for the prize can be made. This will be two years. The book must be handed in as an edited version. In reply to a question of J.M. Sasson the President said that de Gruyter will pay for publishing the book. D.I. Owen asked if there would be a special series. This would a possibility, but the matter has not yet been decided. S.M. Maul asked who would decide the prize winners. There is to be a committee consisting of H. Neumann (Board IAA) and two other IAA members that will serve for three years. Its members should be impartial. S. Franke suggested asking retired colleagues. J. Cooper asked who would nominate the committee members. The President pointed out that the members will not necessarily be professors. In the coming year rules will be formulated and discussed. B. Porter proposed a motion for acceptance of this prize and whatever is necessary to review the applications. During the meeting S.M. Maul was appointed as one of the committee members.
c. LIP Party
The IAA will provide matching funds for the “Less Important People” party to a maximum of €1000. The party will be held annually during the Rencontre. The large majority of the meeting voted in favor, there were two votes against the proposal and six abstentions.
d. IAA Prize
The Board suggested awarding a prize for the best first article. It would be for young people who had finished their PhD. The prize would include a one-year membership of the IAA. The article should be written in one of the congress languages, English, French or German. There would be a special committee of three IAA members.
D. Katz asked if it is for IAA members only and why PhD students cannot apply. J. Taylor asked if there is an age limit. There is not. J.C. Fincke suggested not to exclude pre-PhD students. S.J. Garfinkle would prefer to have a choice of articles written during a five-year period rather that just one article. The President said that the number of articles would become too large. A. Goddeeris said that it is important to have an article already when students apply for a PhD. J. Cooper remarked that the application should concern a recently published article.
J.M. Sasson pointed out that a discussion about this topic is not very effective as long as there are no clear rules followed by a proposal. We have to look at other models. It was decided that the Board would present a proposal at the next Rencontre.
e. Selection of Rencontre Papers
A proposal for the admission of speakers at a Rencontre has been drafted by a committee chaired by M. Roaf. The responsibilty for the quality of the papers lies with the organizing teams. Special attention must be paid to the abstracts provided by would-be speakers. A. Archi emphasized that the abstract should be detailed. For the Rencontre in Rome four papers were rejected.
D.I. Owen suggested that the RAI introduce the reading of papers “by title” as is done at many other congresses.

6. Honorary Council
Prof. W.W. David Hawkins was nominated in Paris (2009) by a Board member (Ottervanger) for his outstanding scientific record and his support of the annual RAI. The Board accepted this proposal during its meeting and the General Meeting was duly informed. The meeting welcomed the proposal by acclamation. Prof. Hawkins accepted the membership of the Honorary Council and he expressed his thanks to the General Meeting.

7. Proceedings of past Rencontres
a. Münster 2006
H. Neumann said that there had been some problems that have now been overcome. The volume will appear in the AOAT series. He hopes that the proceedings can go to the publisher in the last quarter of 2011.
b. Moscow and St. Petersburg 2007
The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns.
Progress reports for the following volumes were supplied by J. Eisenbraun:
c. Würzburg 2008
G. Wilhelm had delivered the files for the volume in February 2011. At Eisenbrauns’ request some contributors supplied new materials. Work on the volume has been in progress since mid-March and it could possibly be ready by the end of 2011.
d. Paris 2009
L. Marti recently told Eisenbrauns that he was about to send the copy for publication. If that happened, the book would probably appear in the first half of 2012.
e. Barcelona 2010
There was no detailed information about this volume, but a deadline for handing in contributions had been set for this summer.

8. Future Rencontres
a. Leiden 2012
Th.J.H. Krispijn gave a powerpoint about the Rencontre to be held in Leiden in 2012 from 16-20 July. The topic will be &dlquo;Private and State&drquo;. A number of workshops and several receptions will be organized, one of the receptions will be hosted by the National Museum of Antiquities. The partners are the Museum and the Netherlands Institute for the Near East. In his powerpoint he highlighted the history of the Leiden department, the sites of the city of Leiden and the available facilities, museums, etc. A website will be up and running in October.
b. Other Rencontres
M. Tanret informed the General Meeting about the Rencontre to be held in Ghent next year. The congress will be held mid-July, a topic has not yet been chosen. There will be an excursion to Bruges or Antwerp.
M. Kapelus presented a short announcement for the Rencontre to be held in Warsaw in 2014.

9. New business
Those present at he meeting were asked to contribute to Orientalia. The journal needs more articles. The president added Journal of Cuneiform Studies is in need of more subscribers.

10. Closing the meeting
The President thanked the organizers of the Rencontre, A. Archi, G. Biga, L. Verderame and all their helpers, for a wonderful and well-organized Rencontre. There were many interesting papers, in particular by young scholars, and the receptions were excellent. Needless to say, all participants had greatly enjoyed being in the city of Rome.

The President declared this meeting closed at 16.00 hours.

W.H. van Soldt
IAA secretary
February 2, 2012